7 dead in multi-vehicle Utah crash amid sandstorm

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At least seven people were killed in southwestern Utah on Sunday in a multi-vehicle crash. Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Public Safety/Website

At least seven people were killed in southwestern Utah on Sunday in a multi-vehicle crash. Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Public Safety/Website

July 26 (UPI) -- Officials in Utah said at least seven people were dead and several others were injured in a multi-vehicle pileup that occurred amid a sandstorm.

The Department of Public Safety said in a statement that high winds caused a sand and dust storm that impaired visibility on Interstate 15 in Millard County near Kenosha in southwestern Utah, resulting in a crash involving at least 20 vehicles at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

"No one could see, so people started stopping and then you just get a chain reaction," said Trooper Andrew Battenfield, The New York Times reported. "Nobody could see, and then all of a sudden, you're slamming into a car."

"It's just a horrific situation," he said.

Sgt. Cameron Rhoden with Utah Highway Patrol told 2KUTV that children were among the dead and at least 10 people were injured.

The Utah Department of Public Safety said several people injured were transported to area hospitals in critical condition.

Photos of the accident shared by the department of public safety show debris flung about the highway caused by an accident involving multiple vehicles of various sizes including transport trucks.

"I can't remember in recent memory of [a crash] being this large, with this many vehicles and this many fatalities," Rhoden said.

The names of the victims will not be released for 24 hours in order to allow next of kin to be contacted, the highway patrol said.

The crash caused southbound traffic to be diverted.

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